Monday, August 21, 2006

Friend Makes Beautiful Music



HERE YOU COME AGAIN -- Cindilu2 has created a beautiful animation to celebrate one of the cuts on Clay Aiken's upcoming CD, A THousand Different Ways.

An Example of 'Attitude'

Friend Makes Beautiful Music

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home.

The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes. -- Charles Swindoll, American writer and clergyman

If I didn't know better, I would think Charles Swindoll was talking about my good friend Judi, who, despite being confined to a wheelchair the last few years of her life, proved she could do just about anything as well or better than everyone else.

Judi was first an "orchestra mom" for my middle school group in Nashville, later becoming a close friend. Always the first to volunteer for any assistance or driving assignment needed to facilitate the activities of the orchestra, Judi was an integral part of the success of the program.

With the youngest of three children safely ensconced in college, she and her husband sold their home in Tennessee and enjoyed traveling throughout the country in their RV. We lost contact during those years; but when my former orchestra student graduated magna cum laude and sent me a copy of her speech, I learned that her parents had eventually landed at her mother's family homestead in Omaha, TX.

By then, Judi had developed a rare strain of muscular dystrophy that kept her wheelchair bound. However, this did not stop her from making the very difficult journey to witness her youngest deliver a very special graduation speech.

PHOTO INTERMISSION: This clickable graphic interlude features the artistic talent of four Clay fans -- ABeautifulMind (1), Amazing_CA (2, 3), Invisible926 (4), and Katt45 (5).










Internet Biz Renews Friendship

Among the many products I market through an Internet-based business are delicious protein and meal replacement bars. My former violist had shared with me contact info for her parents; so in the spring of 2003, I included Judi in the mailing of some samples to friends and family.

I will never forget the immediate email response I received from Texas: "I have diabetes, and that's the first CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR I have had in years!!! Where can I get some more of these wonderful LEGAL BARS?"

We discussed the pros and cons of purchasing products as a client or forming her own business. Judi chose the latter and proceeded to set up her own circle of clients and business owners while ordering the meal bars for herself.

Cheering for Clay Together

A side benefit of our renewed friendship that spring was the fact that Judi and I were cheering for the same phenomenal singer from North Carolina on American Idol. When Clay Aiken was named runner-up but also given a recording contract, I began reading message boards and kept my friend informed of his activities. Every time I burned a CD and made a tape of Clay's music to share with my mother, Judi got one, too. She and her husband, both lifelong songwriters, were huge fans of Clay's voice, as well as his charitable endeavors.

Meanwhile, I sent my friend various tools; and her Internet business was thriving. In turn, she emailed regular reports to be shared with our upline. One night in September I was asked to read part of Judi's report at our weekly meeting in Raleigh. Paraphrased, her message was this:

"Because of my confinement, I cannot attend workshops or introduce the business to others out in public. However, if I can build this business from a wheelchair with a phone and a computer, then anybody can become a successful IBO."

Standing Ovation From a Distance

When I finished, you could have heard a pin drop in that room followed by spontaneous applause, which I later relayed to Texas. I don't know if Judi ever read Charles Swindoll's words about attitude, but she lived them every day of her life.

In October, her struggle with MD landed her in a Texarkana hospital where she listened to Clay's music and sold her nurses on him, as well as her Internet business. In the hours leading into Oct. 14, the day Measure of a Man went on sale, Judi lost her battle to MD.

"The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."

With the countdown to A Thousand Different Ways under 30 days now, I think of my friend often. With open arms, she would have played on the string she was dealt, embracing Clay's new CD and all that he has accomplished in his career.

And in her own special way, she would have shared all this with everyone within her network. In the spirit of Judi's gift of communication, here is the link to listen to snippets of all 14 songs from ATDW at Sony Music Store.

Caro

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2 comments:

Vox Vixen said...

The story about your friend Judi was beautiful. It made me cry. She truly is an inspiration.

Hugs, Susanne

lyrichord said...

Thanks for collecting all those stories about people being shocked and awed by ATDW Clay. I loved reading them.